Drake Britton shines in a new role for Red Sox
Before he threw his first pitch in the top of the 14th inning on Wednesday night, Red Sox rookie Drake Britton took a moment to look around Fenway Park.
“Pretty amazing to be out there,” he said.
The lefthander threw two scoreless innings in a 5-4 victory and earned his first major league win when Stephen Drew delivered a walkoff single in the 15th inning.
In six relief appearances, Britton has yet to give up a run over eight innings. He has allowed five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Righthanded hitters are 1 for 10 against him.
A starter throughout his minor league career, Britton has taken well to pitching out of the bullpen.
“It’s fun. I’m getting used to the routine and getting ready,” he said. “Just being here is beyond what I expected.”
Manager John Farrell likes the idea of breaking in young starters by using them in relief. In Britton, the Sox have found a pitcher who could play a key role in the pennant race.
“The biggest thing to me that stands out is just his overall poise,” Farrell said Thursday. “On short rest, multiple innings, it’s showing resiliency physically and the consistency from a mental standpoint. He’s got exceptional concentration ability that he’s shown in a short period here.”
Farrell said Britton has improved his ability to repeat his delivery and that has made his breaking pitches more effective.
The Sox will learn more about Britton once an appearance doesn’t go well.
“That will be an insight into him as a competitor,” Farrell said. “But he’s quickly gained a lot of acknowledgment from his teammates [in the bullpen] and a lot of guys have a lot of confidence in him, including us as a staff.”
Up and down
With Jake Peavy joining the team, the Red Sox created room on the roster by optioning righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre to Pawtucket.
Wednesday’s lengthy game also required a move to restock the bullpen. Rookie righthander Brandon Workman was optioned and righthander Steven Wright was recalled from Pawtucket.
Workman threw 103 pitches on Tuesday and wouldn’t be available for a few days. Wright pitched on Sunday and was called on immediately Thursday night, getting the win by going three innings in what could have been a mop-up role. He entered in the seventh with the Sox trailing, 7-1. The Sox won, 8-7, with six runs in the ninth.
Workman has pitched well in four appearances but the situation dictated a move. The Sox plan to bring Workman back up when he is eligible to return in 10 days.
“He understands the reasons,” Farrell said.
Workman has started three games for the Sox but will be going to the bullpen with the addition of Peavy. As preparation, he will pitch in relief for Pawtucket.
The Red Sox started Brock Holt at third base for the second consecutive game Thursday a situation that Farrell described as being “temporary” during a radio interview on Wednesday. Holt went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
In Pawtucket, Xander Bogaerts started at third base against Norfolk instead of at shortstop and went 1 for 4 in a 6-2 loss.
Bogaerts has started at third twice in the last four games and four times since July 21.
Farrell has acknowledged that Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks are being discussed within the organization. That Bogaerts is getting starts at third base in the wake of Iglesias being traded may be a sign of the organization’s plans.
He’ll hop to it
Clay Buchholz is on a schedule of three days of throwing then one day off. He was off on Thursday, and on Friday or Saturday the hope is he will be able to throw at full effort without feeling discomfort in his shoulder.
The test Buchholz needs to pass is throwing from a distance while making a “crow hop” like an outfielder. That was the direction given by Dr. James Andrews after he examined Buchholz.
If Buchholz were able to do that, he would be able to progress to pitching off a mound. More bullpen sessions then eventually a minor league rehabilitation game would follow. The Red Sox hope to have Buchholz back later this month or early in September.
The social type
Jose Iglesias, who was part of the Peavy deal, will join the Detroit Tigers on Friday. On Thursday, he took to Twitter to make his first public comments on the trade. “A big thank you to the Red Sox organization and all of Red Sox Nation for all the love and support these first years of my career. Love you,” Iglesias wrote. His next message said, “And thank you Detroit Tigers for the opportunity to join a great city and for the having the faith and trust in me. Let’s go!” . . . The Aug. 25 game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles was picked up by ESPN and will now start at 8 p.m. ET . . . Several of the Red Sox’ starting pitchers took batting practice early in the afternoon. The Sox will play six consecutive interleague road games starting on Aug 19 . . .Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the disabled list recovering from a concussion, has started taking batting practice on the field . . . Peavy was issued No. 44, which he has worn his entire career. Rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had the number earlier this season . . . The Red Sox granted righthanded reliever Brandon Lyon, 33, his release from the Pawtucket roster . The 33-year-old pitched in four games, allowing five hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 5⅓ innings Lyon signed a minor league contract with the Sox on July 19 after the Mets released him. The sides agreed on the release because there were no plans to promote Lyon . . . The Sox finished 6-1 against Seattle and have won nine straight against the Mariners at Fenway . . . The Sox had consecutive walkoff wins for the first time since Aug. 2-3, 2011 . . . The Sox are 18-11 against the AL West, with three games at Houston starting on Monday.